Emiliano Martinez’s shoot-out shenanigans take gamesmanship to a new level


Emiliano Martinez once conceded three goals at Port Vale on loan for Oxford United, and that was only 10 years ago, which just goes to show that the psychology of a goalkeeper is built over many different experiences. In those days he was called Damian on a teamsheet but Emi – the abbreviation of his middle name that he goes by – is a different guy.

Would Damian have taken the golden glove trophy handed to him by the Emir of Qatar and placed it on his groin as he walked past the World Cup trophy with the eyes of the globe upon him? Winning a World Cup final can do strange things to a man. The man from Aston Villa had put it all on the line in the penalty shoot-out. He had danced like Alan Pardew. He had been pushed back forcibly by the Polish referee Szymon Marciniak to take his place on the goal line. He had watched as two French penalty-takers had wilted in his glare.

Martinez has set a new bar for what devotees of the 21st century culture of badinage like to describe as s—housery. Depending on where you stand on that kind of gamesmanship then that bar is either set very high, or very, very, low.

There was a moment before Aurelien Tchouameni’s off-target penalty when Martinez threw the ball away from the Frenchman and the referee. By the time he was refusing to budge from the penalty spot for Randal Kolo Muani’s subsequent penalty, the last of France’s four, Marciniak could feel himself losing control. He walked Martinez backwards and when that proved ineffective he booked the goalkeeper. The penalty was scored but the damage was already done.

Martinez is a great goalkeeper when it comes to penalties and the rest, and the Argentine nation will not quibble with the means by which he introduces doubt to the opponent.—Agencies